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All You Wanted To Know About Chinese Cuisine

Jun 2, 2008
Chinese cuisine is a rich combination of color, flavors and taste. The popularity of the Chinese cuisine has given it the much deserved global recognition and it has come to be accepted as part of the global cuisine.

Chinese cuisine involves the delicate art of cooking using varied techniques and styles to create true works of art. The variety in Chinese cuisine arises from the culinary contribution of the different regions in the country. The style of cooking and presentation varies a great deal from one region to the other. The reference to "eight cuisines" in Chinese cuisine is all about the cooking from the rich cultures of the eight regions namely Cantonese, Hunan, Sichuan, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong. Of this the popular cuisines include Sichuan, Cantonese, Shandong and Huaiyang or Jiangsu cuisine referred to as the "Four Great traditions".

Each region contributes an immense variety to the Chinese cuisine and has a distinct characteristic of its own that makes it stand out from the others. Food is an important part of the Chinese culture. People here love cooking and take great pains to create lovely dishes that are a wonderful way of pampering the taste buds The art of food presentation is also of great significance. Chinese cuisine is a fusion of colors and flavors and is thus, not only a treat to the eyes but is also a delight to the tastebuds.

Mealtimes are the time for bonding. It is when a family gets together to relish the flavors of a wonderful home cooked meal. Foods of different types hold different meanings in the Chinese culture and traditions. There are specific foods that are eaten on particular occasions and signify a deep meaning in itself. Like for instance, the birthday celebration of a young child would have noodles as part of the menu for the day. The eating of the long noodles signifies long life for the child.

When one talks of Chinese cuisine, the "chopsticks" cannot be left out. It is an integral part of the Chinese dining experience. Chopsticks are sticks (instead of forks and spoons) used in Chinese cuisine for eating and serving food. The dexterity with which the food is eaten with the help of the chopsticks is indeed an art in itself.

Soup is an important part of the Chinese cuisine. The Chinese do not believe in mixing cold and hot foods and so no cold beverages are served with food. Tea is a popular beverage in the Chinese culture and is believed to foster the digestion process.
Chinese cuisine includes an array of dishes (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) that are cooked in small bite-sized pieces. This makes it both easy to serve and also relish. Fish and chicken are an integral part of Chinese cuisine. Fish is served whole and this practice of serving it whole symbolizes completeness. Pork, beef and lamb are also a widely used meat in Chinese cuisine, their importance in everyday cooking however, varies from one region to the other.

Rice is an important part of Chinese cuisine and each person at the table is served an individual bowl of rice with the accompaniments served in big bowls for the entire group of people. Every person at the table picks food from the big bowls as required using his or her pair of chopsticks. This is a tradition that is very different from the West where each person takes an individual serving of the dish on his plate before he begins eating.

The Chinese cuisine is a true reflection of the culture and traditions of a great nation. The cooking styles and food is a representation of beliefs, health concerns and traditions that have come down a few thousand years. Chinese cuisine is indeed one that combines a potpourri of flavors all in one.
About the Author
Mary-Anne is a featured member and regular contributor at iFood.tv, a global food network featuring recipes from all over the world. For more Indian Recipes, Thai Recipes, and Chinese Recipes check out ifood.tv.
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